It’s your call!

As much as your friendly bartender in the past has grappled with this thing called the cell phone (to wit: the annoying ring tones persisting at the bar while the call-ee decides if he wants to accept the call… the annoying ring tones at a Broadway play which have actually stopped the show, as some epicure of epic ass-holery confirms a dinner reservation… or the lack of a real conversation anymore as most people prefer pushing buttons on a gadget than the buttons of the person sitting next to them in lively debate), he’s finally found a reason to cheer its invention. Do miracles never cease?

Now you might find it rather a minuscule reason as it only applies to bartenders, but being a bartender I find it most worthy of discussion. But hey, before all that how ’bout I mix you a cocktail? You’re Hendrick’s and tonic with an extra lime, am I right? Yeah, I thought I remembered your face. Here ya’ go, dear.

But listen, before I begin my spiel I have a request. And that is, would you mind turning off your cell phone first, that way we won’t… whoa, take it easy, I was just kidding. (Wow!)

Okay, here’s the deal

Remember all those scenes in all those old movies where the bartender would take a phone call, cover the receiver with the palm of his hand (remember the receiver???), then shout down the bar, “Hey, Joe, your wife’s on the phone… are you here?” Then Joe shakes his head in a panicky “No!” and the bartender is forced to lie, “No I ain’t seen him,”? Well that’s what I’m here to applaud, dear reader, the fact that I don’t have to lie anymore for Joe. Or Larry, Curly or Moe for that matter or anyone else who isn’t where they’re supposed to be. Because thanks to that wonderful tracking device tucked neatly in Joe’s breast pocket, that thing that everyone can’t do without called the cell phone, Joe’s never more than a ring tone away from his boss, secretary, wife, girlfriend, or loan shark. And for that I’m most grateful!

But before I come off like the founding father who couldn’t cut down that cherry tree without owning up to it, let me explain my views on this business of lying. See it’s not that I’m above telling little white lies or the massive prevarication if that’s what is called for, it’s just that your friendly bartender’s really, really bad at it. In fact he stinks at it!

Whether masking the fact that he’s raising the pot holding nothing but a pair of deuces, or spinning to a gal that his lateness is due to a subway problem, his face will develop enough facial tics to appear that its muscles have engaged in a full out samba dance. (Ole!!!) Yes even in grade school when your friendly bartender was merely your friendly student, and Sister Aloysius would ask why “in God’s name” he did something, though often in possession of a foolproof cover his burgeoning troupe of facial dancers were already skilled enough to cha-cha his ass into detention.

Which brings me to the point. For all the collateral damage of the cell phone along of course with its merits (roadside emergencies to name one), the cell phone is now a good thing for me as a bartender. For it’s finally rid me of having to do that dance. That’s right… let Larry, Curly and Moe do the samba while I, your truthful bartender, say six “Our Father’s”, six “Hail Mary’s” and six “Glory Be’s” to the Father, to ensure their lying asses don’t end up in Purgatory. So thank you, Technology!

And speaking of the Catholic Church I have a confession to make. Would you like another Hendrick’s before I fess up, miss? No, just water? Okay. Geez, I hope I haven’t caused you to get religion here. What’s that? Oh, you’re switching to something stronger but haven’t decided yet. (Yikes!)

Okay, here’s your double margarita and here’s my confession. A short while ago, believe it or not, I purchased my very first cell phone… much to my wary surprise and I’m sure yours. Yes, against all odds I’ve bravely gone where I swore I never would go, and now I’m one of those people plugged into the universe. But before you think I’m completely high tech and about to move my act to Silicon Valley, just know that I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing with the thing. (At least not completely.) For not only are there things up and down the menu that send me quite often into fits of “WTF?”, or that cause me to stop perfect strangers and ask for tech support, but if I’ve used the damn thing ten times in all… four times I’ve managed to take a picture of my shoes!

Miss, oh miss, hello? Would you mind addressing that buzzing sound in your purse??? Yeesh!

Over and out from Bar-land… see ya’ next week-end!

PS: Don’t mean to pop my buttons but I guess that’s what I’m doing here, I found (this nice surprise) last night when I got home. Thank you, Mr. W.

24 Responses to “It’s your call!”

  1. 1 JSaw March 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Welcome to the wonderful world of the cell phone and other PDAs. Though you don’t have to give up everything.

    As my partner says: “Constant availability cheapens life.” So here’s what I do:

    1) I turn off my phone at work. If you need to call me, call me at work, if you have the number. If you don’t have the number. I probably don’t ever need to speak to you during work hours.

    2) Unless it’s Friday or Saturday, I probably won’t pick up after 9 PM. If it’s Friday or Saturday, unless there is a fire, I WILL NOT pick up.

    4) When I’m on vacation, I’m not going to pick up.

    5) If you call (or Blackberry) me at 2 AM, you can “bite me” if you expect an answer before 9:30 AM. The only people who can expect a response at that hour have the same last name as me.

    Happy cell-phoning Scrib. Just don’t let it takeover your life!

  2. 2 Jennifer March 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I can’t lie either… I’ve always been horrible at it.

    Grizzled calls his Blackberry his tether… And no, I’m not usually the one at the other end of it… it’s his place of employment.

    Enjoy your new tether!

    And… have you considered posting some of those fabulous shoe photos? It could be the start of a whole new hobby.

  3. 3 Petro March 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Hey, I see Wolcott highlighted you again. Congrats!

  4. 4 Anonymoustache March 13, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Uh-oh. It’s a slippery slope that you’ve started down, my friend. Next thing you know, you’ll be thinking this writing thing’s too much trouble…. could a podcast be too far away?!!\
    Jokes aside, BTW, JSaw’s use of the term PDA reminded me — as we all know, it is not the instrument itself that is the problem, it is often the user. I mean, the person sporting it often defines whether PDA stands for Personal Digital Assistant/Appliance or whether it stands for Pretentious Douchebag Accessory.
    So in your case I’d say fear not and use it well!

  5. 5 Petro March 14, 2010 at 12:48 am

    OT: I’ve just always wanted to say…

    …that Anonymoustache has the best handlebar none.

    Bah da bum.

  6. 6 Donna B. March 14, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I 2nd Petro’s comment.

    And I totally understand the push/pull, love/hate affair of cell phones.

    I got my first in the mid-80s. Of course, most were car phones then, physically attached to the car. The models that weren’t attached to a car were literally the size and weight of a brick.

    It was also during that era that I got my first $500 cell phone bill. Roaming charges were a bitch then. Especially roaming charges from an offshore marine cell… live and learn 🙂

    Circa 2005, I disconnected my land line and went full cellular. No regrets.

    However, I’ve been known to turn my phone off and to simply not answer. I fully understand your patrons who want to see who is calling before deciding to answer. Caller ID is a good friend of mine.

  7. 7 Anonymoustache March 14, 2010 at 8:04 am


    —“…that Anonymoustache has the best handlebar none”—

    Thanks. And that was a superlative pun!

  8. 8 Ken March 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Scrib: A couple of thoughts. When I took the plunge and decided to become a self employed attorney, the cell phone made it doable. I have a home office where I keep my files and do my no-brainer writing and clerical work. I borrow a colleague’s conference room to meet clients. (There’s a lesson there: be a mentor–it will win you friends for life) I use the law libraries for serious writing. My cell let’s me tie it together. I don’t even bother with an office landline.

    That said, I rarely answer my cell phone when I’m sitting at a bar. It has to be something or someone real important for me to break this rule. I will get up from the bar and go to a quiet corner to talk. If there is no one around, I will take out my netbook and check email.

  9. 9 Comrade PhysioProf March 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

    The key to cell phone usage is to remember that the purpose is to make *your* life more convenient, not whatever entitled asshole is fucking calling you. I pretty much never answer my cell phone when it rings, unless it’s PhysioWife. There is no one else on the entire planet that can’t be called back when I fucking feel like it.

    Here’s a funny cell-phone douchebag story. I was on jury duty about ten years ago–when those bluetooth ear doohickeys with the flashing blue light first became available–and while sitting in the big juror assembly room all of us quietly sitting in our chairs reading or whatever were watching this Master of the Universe motherfucking douchebag pacing around with the motherfucking blue light flashing in his ear, shouting at the top of his lungs to whatever other motherfucking douchebag was on the other end of the phone and transparently trying to impress everyone in the juror room with his importance. We were all rolling our eyes at each other and mocking the fucking a-hole.

    The next morning, I show up for duty, and as I’m walking into the juror room, I’m dicking around with *my* cell-phone and not really paying attention to where I’m going. The next thing I know, someone smashes into me, and their fucking coffee spills right the fuck all over my cell-phone, which immediately goes completely dead. I look up to see what the fuck is going on, and fuck me dead, it was the same motherfucking bluetooth flashing blue light in his ear douchebag we were all mocking the shit out of the day before. True story.

  10. 10 scribbler50 March 14, 2010 at 10:47 am

    JSaw: Boy are you organized! The Five Rules of Engagement according to JSaw. Sounds like you’ve got the whole thing figured out. And, hey, good advice but not to worry, the phone will not take over my life. I barely take it with me.

    Jennifer: Leave it to you as an artist to come up with a use for all those damn shoe pictures. Hmmmm, now you’ve got me thinking… ten more phone calls and I’ll have enough for a retrospective at MOMA. Maybe call it “I Cell Shoes”! Whaddaya’ think, pal?

    Petro: Thanks for mentioning the Wolcott piece, needless to say my buttons are popping off my chest. It made not only my day but my month!

    Donna B: Wow, you’ve been there from the beginning, you’re a cell phone pioneer. But a $500 bill? I remember buying a used Volkswagen for $450, and never once did it break up or shut down.

    Anonymoustache: Thanks, man, and you also needn’t worry as I approach that slippery slope. I’m wearing some mountain climbing cleats that will keep my ass grounded… oops, damn it, I was just gonna call you but I accidentally took a picture of those boots! (PS: Great pun indeed my Petro, eh? You’re work has become infectious, my friend, you are now no less than the Pun-master General of the blogosphere!)

    Ken: I definitely see the worth of the thing as you describe it. It’s a minor miracle, actually. And I do appreciate your use (or non-use) while sitting in a bar. That’s what to do! Thanks, as always, for checking in.

    Comrade Physioprof: Thanks for that story, man, very funny. And that really nails the asshole extreme of phone use. I just wish (given your way with words) I had a copy of your internal rant when that jag-off coffee-ed you! But then again maybe not, the FCC might shut down my damn blog. 🙂 Later, Bro.

  11. 11 Jennifer March 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Maybe call it “I Cell Shoes”! Whaddaya’ think, pal?

    I think it will be a merging of the phone and shoe, not seen since the likes of Maxwell Smart.

  12. 13 jc March 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I’m still infected, your cell phone can be called The Shoe Horn.

    *sends Mr Wolcott a “Whaddya Recommend?” and a water back*

  13. 14 Anonymoustache March 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “I Cell Shoes” is freaking brilliant, man! Indeed, the concept could be an art franchise….mobile phone pic folios of pretty much anything and you could have a blog photo-journal (or showing or even a MoMA retrospective, in time) of I Cell (That Thing)! I love it!

  14. 15 scribbler50 March 14, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    JC: Good one! And I know, once you get Punitis it’s hard to kick.

    Anonymoustache: Crazy as that sounds it’s not so crazy. Why don’t you run with it, Stache, I wouldn’t know how. Just give me a finder’s fee for the damn title. 🙂

  15. 16 d-a-p March 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    the piece by mr.”W” is great praise indeed…
    wonderful story..congratulations…
    i understand the new verizon cell phone is ironically being called “the wingtip”

  16. 17 Anonymoustache March 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Congrats on the most recent rec by Wolcott, bro. Entirely well deserved!

  17. 18 scribbler50 March 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    d-a-p: Love “the wingtip”, supposedly its ring tone plays “Sole Music”.

    Anonymoustache: Thanks, man, re: Wolcott. I really do appreciate it.

  18. 19 Irishirritant March 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Good use of old phone…so patrons know the local rules…have pal hold old phone…have him start yacking, grab phone, throw on floor and stomp on a few times and ask “what else can I do for ya.” . Worked wonders for a local barman I know.
    Thanks Scrib,

  19. 20 brenda March 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Hilarious. And that’s it. I’m getting one. Finally. So now you’ll know me when i come up into the bar. I’ll be the woman wearing a baseball cap, backwards, RAPPING, into her cell phone.

  20. 21 scribbler50 March 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Irishirritant: I love that. Of course you need a good actor as the foil and a real old phone as the prop but I agree, THAT would get everyone’s attention!
    Thanks, man.

    Brenda: Oh man, would I love to see THAT scene. In fact, if you did come in like that it would be the first time since I’ve owned my phone that I use it as a camera on purpose!!!

  21. 22 physiobabe March 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Sorry I came so late to the party. Scrib – horrific storm up here with much damage and we just got our internet service back.

    Love the Catholic school reference – brings back memories!

    Hey, maybe you can get a gig at VF.

  22. 23 scribbler50 March 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    physiobabe: Glad you finally made it and I’m sorry about all your problems with the storm. This was a real ripper. Here, I saved you a drink!

  23. 24 physiobabe March 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    And keep ’em coming! This storm really kicked our asses here.

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